Environmental Management

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 119–126 | Cite as

Remote sensing of coastal food resources

  • V. Klemas
  • D. S. Bartlett


Since tidal marshes and estuaries cover large areas of the world's coasts and exhibit a very high net primary productivity, they offer a most important food source for an ever increasing world population. The food web of numerous estuaries and coastal waters is based on the primary productivity of coastal marshes that constitute centers of solar energy fixation and an important link in the mineral cycles. The fixed carbon and minerals enterthe water primarily as detritus where a complex food web makes them accessible to commercially important fish and benthic communities. With the launch of LANDSAT, NOAA-2, and Skylab, relatively high resolution spacecraft data became available for mapping and inventorying tidal marshes and their productivity on a global scale. Upwelling regions that attract large fish populations as well as other coastal water properties relating to the presence of finfish, Crustacea, and shellfish could be identified and observed. Using multispectral analysis techniques, classification accuracies greater than 80 percent have been obtained for most marsh plant species, and greater than 90 percent for key types such asSpartina alterniflora, which is the primary producer in large tide marshes of the coastal eastern USA. The capacity of remote sensors on spacecraft such as NOAA-2, LANDSAT, and Skylab to assess coastal food resources on a global scale is discussed from the point of view of resolution, classification accuracy, and cost effectiveness.

Key words

Remote sensing Coastal productivity Natural resources LANDSAT Skylab Wetlands 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Klemas
    • 1
  • D. S. Bartlett
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Marine StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewark

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